Amsterdam Mamas: Amsterdam must-sees
Feel the urge to tackle your Amsterdam Bucket List? Here's a list of Amsterdam's top sites and activities as recommended by the Amsterdam Mamas community.
No-one should miss out on what this marvellous city has to offer. Using this list recommended by the Amsterdam Mamas community, experience the best side of Amsterdam, no matter what type of mama you are.
Wadlopen – mudflat hiking
Okay, so the first thing on the list is not in Amsterdam, but is a true Dutch tradition. Get ready to get dirty and don't think this type of hiking isn't hard work. Hurry up as the tide is rushing in!
A stroll through the Vondelpark
Amsterdam's version of New York's Central Park. Forget about the many playgrounds, the tea houses, the open air theatre and many events held there; nothing beats feeling the wind in your face and enjoying a leisurely stroll, a jog or bike ride.
Iceskating in wintertime
Get real Dutch and put on some ice skates. Any of Amsterdam's rinks in the wintertime will give you the joy of feeling the cool wind in your hair.
Cycle from Amsterdam to Durgerdam, Nieuwedammerdijk or Broek in Waterland
It might be a far ride for wee ones on their own bike, but the trip will be absolutely worth it. Hire a bakfiets or tandem alternatively.
Walking through Amsterdamse Bos park
Stop over at the Goats Farm with its playground, visitors centre and exhibitions. Or just collect leaves and have fun running about with the wee ones.
A zoo since 1838, Artis has lots to offer all ages.
Take the ferry across to Noord
As the ferry is free of charge, there'a really no excuse not to go for a coffee at ‘t Tolhuys and admire the skyline of Amsterdam from the other side of ‘t IJ.
Fifty Shades Mamas
Red Light District
Experience a two Euro peepshow in the RLD. Honestly, I thought that 'RLD' was a name for a certain venue where you could do this. But, it's short for Red Light District...
Let Loose Mamas
Visit a coffee shop, like Tweede Kamer or De Dampkring, and order a (pre-rolled) joint. Like they say, "when in Rome"...
Supperclub means dressing up Big Time in order to get past the 'door dragon'.
Dance at Paradiso
A rock music venue and cultural centre, Paradiso's lineups are always jam packed with famous, non-mainstream artists from all over the world.
Drinks at Cafe Schuim
Schuim means ‘foam' (on beer) and this grungy, arty bar is extraordinarily popular with beer-swilling locals – it gets packed any time of day or night. While the people-watching can be distracting, it's wise to keep one eye on your belongings. Located at Spuistraat 189.
The best way to discover Amsterdam and the weird Dutch habit of leaving the curtains open.
Church de Papegaai
This hidden gem in Kalverstreet shopping street is also nicknamed 'fifteen minutes with God'. Church de Papegaai is located across from the McDonalds, although you would never believe there is a haven of peace and quiet so nearby.
Onze Lieve Heer Op Zolder
'Our Lord in the Attic' is one of the oldest and most remarkable museums in Amsterdam. Behind the characteristic facade of this house by the canal lies a largely original 17th-century home and a complete hidden church. This secret church was built in the attic during the Reformation, when Catholics were forbidden to hold public services.
The Begijnhof is one of the oldest inner courts in the city of Amsterdam and hosts the last wooden house in the city. A group of historic buildings, mostly private dwellings, centre on it. As the name suggests, it was originally a Béguinage. Today it is also the site of the English Reformed Church. You will not believe the peace and quiet in there, considering its position sandwiched between a busy street with trams on one side and one of Amsterdam's busiest shopping streets on the other.
Van Gogh Museum
Van Gogh Museum hosts the biggest Van Gogh collection in the world. Don't let the lines of visitors hold you back – it is well worth the trip.
Queensnight, April 29th onto April 30th, has nothing to do with Queensday, and has become a local-excuse-turned-tradition to dress in orange and consume alcohol. Lots and lots of it. Queensday hosts vrijmarkten (flea markets), and the ones in areas Vondelpark and Watergraafsmeer are the most kiddie-friendly. Trams are suspended downtown and you will find it close to impossible to get into the city quickly.
Every year on the first Saturday of November, most museums are open until 2am. Get a sitter and indulge yourself.
Combine the Active and Hungry Mamas recommendations and cycle from restaurant to restaurant to burn off some of the sampled food Amsterdam has on offer.
We recommend trying:
- Lunch & drinks at Grand Cafe Eerste Klas, Amsterdam Central Station by track 2b.
- Lunch & drinks at the La Place Cafe on top of OBA Central Library. The views are amazing and there is a free baby change in the disabled loo.
- Visit to IJ Brewery (the Windmill). Their beer Ijwit (eggwhite, play on words) has been voted best beer in the Netherlands by Dutch TV channel RTL4.
- Drinks at Leidseplein. Any bar, just people-watch.
- Order a portion of bitterballen at a brown cafe.
- High tea at the Amstel Hotel.
- Eating Flemish fries from a pointy paper bag at the Voetboogsteeg 33.
- Sampling an oliebol, stroopwafels, or zoute haring at the Albert Cuyp Market.
- Apple pie and whipped cream at The Winkel, close to Noordermarkt.
- Kroket sandwich at De Kwekkenboom or at Van Dobben. (The latter one only takes cash).
- Takeaway one pot meal stamppot at ‘t Stamppotje.
- Green pea soup at cafe Waterloo.
- Poffetjes and pancakes at Pancakes!Amsterdam.
- Buy a bonbon from Puccini.
And the best of the rest....
- Amazing food with amazing views: De Belhamel.
- Great atmosphere and amazing food: eetcafe de Struisvogel.
- High-end cocktails and Asian fusion delights: Momo.
- Home-cooked Dutch cuisine and cosy environment: Moeders.
- Delicious food and awesome setting: College Hotel.
- Dim sum: Oriental City or Sea Palace.
- Indonesian food, especially the famous rijst tafel: Tempoe Doeloe
- Japanese sushi and sashimi gem: Japan Inn.
9 Streets or Negen Straatjes
These picturesque streets straddling 17th-century canals provide the perfect backdrop to spend a day shopping and strolling around. Designer boutiques, second-hand shops, lovely lunchrooms, art galleries and gift shops – the streets are not to be missed.
Just off Central Station, this bustling street is ideal for a slow stroll. Haarlemmerdijk offers a great diversity of stores, eateries, bars and other nightlife possibilities. Old fashioned amicability from early morning until late in the evening.
Home to the Noordermarkt flea market on Monday mornings and the Organic Farmers' Market on Saturdays, this part of town is not to be missed. A favourite hang out of Rembrandt van Rijn some 350 years ago.
Albert Cuyp Market
A lively street market for more than 100 years, and on all days but Sunday, the Albert Cuyp Market has attracted locals and tourists for years. Don't forget to visit the shops behind the market stalls and definitely keep an eye on your belongings, as unfortunately pick pockets thrive here.
View To A Kill Mamas
Skyline watching at BLUE in the Kalvertoren, at La Place Cafe in OBA Library, Skylounge at Double Tree Hilton Hotel or at Le Ciel Bleu at the Okura Hotel. As the two first options are very much do-able during the day, for the two latter recommendations me thinks: babies at home, high heels on, flute glass in hand. Are we getting the picture here?
Personally I love the fact that the above listings give you and/or your visitors a glimpse of daily Amsterdam life. Even if your guests just have a four-hour layover (or you have a couple of child-free hours), there are plenty of options available. Enjoy!
Amsterdam Mamas is a not-for-profit organisation providing support and information in English for international families in the Amsterdam region and across the Netherlands. From small beginnings on Facebook the organisation has grown into a lively community of more than 9,000 members with its own website, podcast, events and regular newsletters circulating to thousands of families each week.
Photo credit: www.wadlopen.com (photo 1), ZeNahla (photo 2), Moyan_Brenn (photo 3),Supperclub (photo 4), nfontes (photo 5), "We Love Holland" PastBook (photo 6), gillyberlin (photo 7), sebas (photo 8) Thom C (photo 9), torekimi (photo 10), ilovebutter (photo 11), Double Tree Hilton Hotel (photo 12), leoglenn_g (head/hot).
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